In 1996 using grants from Maryland and the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide Internet access for various public institutions, Allegany County created an innovative and unique network solution that was arguably the first wireless carrier-grade broadband network in the country. The network was called AllCoNet. Ultimately, most of the county’s services and facilities were connected into the AllCoNet network, including public safety, the school system, the library, and Allegany College.
The scale of having all the county’s resources committed to one network resulted in substantial cost savings for the county. The project was then expanded to include commercial and residential users. Currently, AllCoNet provides communications services to 85% of county residents and 95% of businesses within the county. The county-wide coverage has resulted in faster economic growth, increased revenue for the county, and an estimated $850,000 worth of savings annually for AllCoNet users when compared with similar service levels.
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